Saturday, August 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab to challenge verdict on Sikh judicial panel
Tribune News Service

Issru, August 15
The Punjab government will appeal against the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission case, according to Capt Amarinder Singh. He was addressing an impressive gathering on the martyrdom day of Goa liberation hero Shaheed Karnail Singh at his native village here today.

Rejecting the demand of the Akalis that he should step down in the wake of the strictures passed by the court against the government while reconstituting the commission, he said he would not like to go into the merits of the verdict but would appeal against it in the Supreme Court.

“Now that the Akalis are out of power and are being investigated for their acts of omission and commission, they are trying to turn the heat on the Congress. There is also a talk of moving a no-confidence motion against me. I welcome any such move and would give a befitting reply”, he asserted.

Capt Amarinder Singh rubbished the demand regarding the setting up of a judicial commission to enquire into the allegations of corruption against Akalis. “I know the fate of the commission and why are they pressing for it. The people are yet to know the fate of the findings of the 1972 commission to look into the allegations against Mr Parkash Singh Badal. They are probably lying buried somewhere,” he quipped.

He said “ I can also announce populist measures but keeping in view the weak fiscal position of the state some harsh measures have to be taken and I am taking them in the larger interests of the state,” he pointed out.

Elaborating on the financial mess created by the Akalis, the CM said the daily receipts of the state were Rs 22 crore while the expenditure was Rs 32 crore. “How are we going to bridge a gap of Rs 3, 600 crore if fresh taxes are not levied or other cost-cutting measures are not initiated,” he questioned.

Earlier, he met Ms Charanjit Kaur, the widow of the martyr, and expressed his concern at her poor financial position. He immediately announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for her and also assured from the government assistance.

Later, while interacting with mediapersons, he said the raids at the properties of Mr Badal and his family were to ascertain their investments. We would present the evidence in a court and it would be for the court to decide on whether Mr Badal would be arrested or not. I do not understand why is he afraid of facing charges in a court of law,” he pointed out.

Replying to a query on the severe criticism of his government by Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh, he said the matter was for the party high command to decide. He, however, refused to comment on the charges levelled by the Deputy Speaker.

On the Bathinda refinery issue, he said he would welcome the setting up of the refinery but would resist if it was handed over to a company already having refining capabilities.

The CM also revealed that a revamp of the education policy was on the cards.

Earlier, he arrived at the village and drove straight to the park where the statue of the martyr has been installed. After garlanding it he took a salute from a contingent of the police. On his way he exchanged pleasantries with SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who too had arrived to pay tributes to the martyr.

Among those present on the occasion included Punjab PCC chief H.S. Hanspal, Transport Minister Tej Parkash Singh, MP Shamsher Singh Dullo, various MLAs and office-bearers of the party.


Badal seeks Amarinder’s resignation
Tribune News Service

Issru, August 15
Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal today demanded the resignation of Captain Amarinder Singh following the judgement of Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission case.

Talking to The Tribune at the venue of political conference on the eve of the martyrdom day of Goa liberation hero Shaheed Karnail Singh, he said the high court judgement proved that the Congress had interfered in the the religious affairs of the Sikhs. He said the orders were a “slap on the face of the Congress government.”

On the issue of possible defections from various political parties to SAD (Badal), he said he was not into this kind of politics and was not in touch with any Congress legislators. Some are sending feelers but I have not encouraged them, he added.

To another query, Mr Badal said he had not received any response from Members of Parliament (MPs) to whom he had written about the alleged excesses against his party colleagues in Punjab. He said that the purpose of writing to the MPs was only to inform them about the state of affairs in Punjab where adversaries were being harassed.

Mr Badal criticised disinvestment of Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL) and said it was against the interests of the people of the state. PTL was the only company which was having profit of Rs 100 crore. The state government was bent on sabotaging the refinery at Bathinda he said.

How can a refinery cause loss to the economy of the state when it was meant to provide employment. It would be the biggest venture after agriculture in the state, he asserted.

The SAD Chief said his party was mobilising the people of the state against anti-people policies of the Congress government. On September 5, all Akali MLAs and other senior leaders would court arrest at Chandigarh.

The SAD president maintained that religion did not mean communalism.

On the visit of the NDA team to Punjab to inquire into alleged excesses on Akali leaders, he maintained that no NDA team would visit Punjab. We are capable of fighting our battle. Mr Badal said that Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, Law Minister Arun Jaitley and Uma Bharati would participate in the rally at Longowal on the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal on August 20.

SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, said he was surprised that the people were talking about motives behind the unity and that it was just between two individuals and not between the Akalis. For the past 40 years we had nurtured the party and seen it grow from strength to strength he added.

He commented that time had come for the people to put an end to the misrule of the Congress. He told the people to be ready for a fight but warned that the people should not take the law into their hands.

Former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, former Minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, former MP Satinder Kaur Dhaliwal, former MLA B.S. Cheema, Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, Mr Harmel Singh Tohra and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema were also present.


We’ll check unemployment, says Amarinder
Tribune Reporters

Kapurthala, August 15
Exhorting the younger generation to spare a moment to ponder over the sacrifices made by Punjabis for the freedom of the country. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that the state government was committed to removing unemployment. He said it would make about 20 lakh unemployed youth of the state self-reliant.

The Chief Minister announced that the state government was in the process of setting up the Kapurthala Development Board for ensuring all-round development and beautification of the city.

Capt Amarinder Singh, while addressing a gathering at a state-level Independence Day function here today, said the younger generation must remember the sacrifices made by their forefathers and freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.

“It is the new generation which has to take care of the country finally. I hope you will accomplish this task with a sense of responsibility and strive to bring peace and prosperity in the country,” he said.

“It is a matter of pride for all of us that Punjabis have been at the forefront of various fields. They repulsed attacks on India’s freedom during the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars, and during the Kargil conflict. The state has contributed 55 per cent of the nation’s foodgrain kitty,” he said.

“We have sent a farming scheme to the Centre for approval. If it is approved, it will change the agriculture scenario of the state and will help create avenues of employment for youths,” he said, adding that the state’s new industrial policy was likely to pay rich dividends.

“When we took over about 18 months ago, the state was almost bankrupt and during this period we have strengthened the fiscal position of the state. Now farmers are getting power easily and none of them has committed suicide unlike two years ago when 600 farmers had reportedly committed suicide due to their inability to repay loans. Farmers are harvesting three crops in a year without any problem,” said Capt Amarinder Singh who was flanked by Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Director-General of Police, and Rana Gurjit Singh, Kapurthala MLA.

He said besides setting up the Kapurthala Development Board, Rs 12 crore would be spent for setting up a sewer system in the city. He said Rs 1.7 crore would be spent on the restoration of the heritage building of Kapurthala Sainik School and another Rs 75 lakh would be given to the school for its smooth functioning.

Earlier, he unfurled the National Flag and inspected a parade along with Mr Siddiqui. He took the salute from contigents of the Punjab Armed Police, the Punjab police and the Home Guards. He gave away awards and commendation certificates to 25 persons who contributed to the development of the state by excelling in their respective fields. The awardees are Dr Onkar Nath Parmar, Dr Ram Kumar Marwaha, Dr B.S. Chandok, Dr Sadhu Singh Mallhi, Mr Raghbir Singh Khandpur, Dr Satwinder Singh Marwaha, Dr Om Parkash Kande, Dr E.M. Johnson, Dr Satpal Bansal, Dr J.B.D. Castro, Dr Davinder Pal Singh Sehgal, Mr Salim Iqbal, Ms Neeta Mohindra, Pandit Yashpal, Mr Kailash Nath, Mr Ajit Singh, Mr Narinder Singh, Master Simranjit Singh, Ms Nirmala Devi, Ms Promilla Puri, Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Daljit Singh, Mr Balwant Singh, Mr Inderjit Singh and Mr Dilbagh Singh.

SANGRUR: Independence Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm at a function held at the local War Heroes Stadium. Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, unfurled the National Flag. He inspected a parade and took the salute from contingents of the Punjab police, the Home Guards, Bharat Scouts and Girl Guides. Mr Henry honoured several persons for their contribution to society in different fields. He also announced a grant of Rs 51,000 for the development of the War Heroes Stadium and Rs 51,000 for the local Police Welfare Fund. Tableaux depicting development activities of various government departments were also presented. Students from various schools presented a PT show. A cultural programme was also presented.

TARN TARAN: Various functions were organised in the area to mark Independence Day. Mr Bakhtawar Singh Shergill, SDM, unfurled the National Flag in the town. Mr Jatinder Kumar Sood, president of the local municipal council, unfurled the National Flag on the premises of the local municipal council. Functions were also organised at Patti and Khadoor Sahib on the occasion.

GURDASPUR: Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Irrigation Minister, unfurled the National Flag here on Independence Day. He inspected a parade and took the salute from contingents of the BSF, the Punjab police, the Home Guards, the NCC and Scouts and Girl Guides. A PT show and a cultural programme were presented by students.

However, ex-servicemen affiliated to the Indian Ex-servicemen League boycotted the Independence Day celebrations.

HOSHIARPUR: Independence Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm at the local police ground. Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Minister for Public Works Department, unfurled the National Flag and took the salute from contingents of the BSF, the police, the Home Guards, the NCC and Scouts and Girl Guides.

Mr Bajwa said though the country had made great achievements in every field, yet corruption had overshadowed these. Students of various schools presented a colourful cultural programme on the occasion. Rs 1 lakh each was given to the families of Kargil martyrs Kulbir Singh and Manjit Singh. Fifteen persons were honoured for their contribution to society in various fields. Twentyfour tricycles, 17 sewing machines and 10 wheelchairs were given to the needy by the District Red Cross Society on the occasion.

Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, unfurled the National Flag at Dasuya, 40 km from here.

AMRITSAR: Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha unfurled the National Flag on Independence Day at Guru Nanak Stadium here.

The Speaker honoured seven distinguished personalities from different walks of life. They are Mr Harmandeep Singh Boparai in the field of academics, Amarpreet Singh, best vocational student, national player Mandeep Kaur, Karate champion Charanjit Singh, navigator Ganda Singh, widow of Lance Naik Majit Singh and a horticulture expert, Mr J.S. Bilga. The Speaker also presented eight sewing machines and seven tricycles to the needy on behalf of the District Red Cross Society.


Stress on govt transparency at Independence Day functions
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, August 15
Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Minister of State for Revenue and Rehabilitation, Punjab, said today that the Congress government was leaving no stone unturned to make Punjab a model state of the country by providing corruption free and transparent administration to the people.

While addressing the gathering at the local stadium after unfurling the National Flag on Independence Day Mr Samra said efforts had also been initiated to eradicate unemployment from Punjab. Earlier, Mr Samra took the salute from the contingents of Punjab Police, Home Guards, Army and police bands.

FARIDKOT: Senior Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, which included Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, former Agriculture Minister, Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon and Mr Mantar Singh Brar, both MLAs, Faridkot and Kotkapura, respectively, were concipicous by their absence at the district level function on Independence Day held at the local Nehru Stadium on Friday.

Meanwhile, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, unfurled the National Flag and took the salute from contingents of various forces. Later, he distributed 12 tricycles and 10 sewing machines to the needy, besides honouring a number of persons.

Dr S.P. Garg a medical expert of the town, presided over the function and gave Rs 10,000 to the mentally challenged.

FAZILKA: Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, unfurled the National Flag at the official function on Independence Day here on Friday at Government Senior Secondary School for Boys. He took the salute from contingents of BSF, Punjab Police, Home Guards and NCC cadets. He paid tributes to freedom fighters and martyrs who had laid down their lives in the fight for freedom.

Fourteen mentally challenged persons were given tricycles and twenty one widows and poor girls were given sewing machines. Government Departments displayed models on different themes and schoolchildren presented a colourful cultural programme.

FEROZEPORE: Independence Day was celebrated here amid enthusiasm and patriotic fervor at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Stadium, where Mr Sardool Singh, Minister for Excise and Taxation, unfurled the Tricolour and took the salute from contingents of the BSF, CRPF, Punjab Police, Home Guards and NCC during an impressive march past.

Earlier, the minister accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vikas Pratap, and SSP. Praveen Sinha paid tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at the National Martyrs Memorial, Hussainiwala.

MOGA: The district-level Independence Day function was held here on Friday at Guru Nanak College where Punjab Education Minister Khushal Behl unfurled the National Flag and took salute from the contingents of Punjab Police, Home Guards and NCC. Students from different schools of the district presented a colourful cultural show.

Referring to the commitment of the government to provide transparent, efficient and corruption-free administration Mr Behl said during the past one and a half years steps had been taken leading to some good results.

Twentone sewing machines and 17 tricycles were distributed among the poor. Prominent persons of the district were also honoured on the occasion.

Among others present on the occasion were Mr G.Ramesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Moga; Mrs Anita Punj SSP, Moga; Mr Jagmohan Singh Gill, Chairman, Improvement Trust, and Mr Joginder Pal Jain, President, Municipal Committee.

MANSA: Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Punjab, presided over the Independence Day celebrations here on Friday. Mr Puri hoisted the National Flag at the Government Nehru Memorial Postgraduate College and took the salute from the contingents of Punjab Police, Home Guards and scouts.

The district administration also awarded commendation certificates to 12 residents. Similar functions were also organised in Sardulgarh and Budhlada subdivisions of the district which were presided over by their respective Sub-Divisional Magistrates.

MUKTSAR: Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry Minister, Punjab, on Friday urged the people to support the war against corruption launched by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Mr Kang unfurled the National Flag on the occasion.

He took the salute from the contingents of Punjab Police and other uniformed forces, apart from schoolchildren.


Civic staff boycotts I-Day function
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 15
Members of the Punjab Nagar Palika Karamchari Sangthan, Hoshiarpur, boycotted the Independence Day function when Mr Ajay Mohan Babbi, president, Municipal Council, in his address started criticised municipal employees for insanitary conditions, inadequate water supply, ill maintaining of streetlights etc in the city, at the Town Hall complex here today.

According to a press release by Mr Kulwant Singh Saini, general secretary of the sangathan, all employees left the venue when Mr Ajay Mohan Babbi instead of speaking about the importance of Independence Day and about martyrs who laid down their lives during the freedom struggle, started criticising working of municipal employees.

Referring to the sanitary condition in the city Mr Saini said about 155 employees of sanitation wing of the council had either retired from service or died. The population of the town had witnessed an increase of 20 per cent whereas fresh recruitments had not been made to meet out the shortage.

There were 52 employees to run and maintain 18 tubewells from where the water supply was made. The number of tubewells had increased to 50 but the number of staff members had decreased to 43. Each operator was running and maintaining three to four tubewells. There are only two electricians for installing new streetlights and maintaining the existing ones.


Improvement Trust to get 20 crore
from two institutions
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 15
The local Improvement Trust is all set to earn about Rs 20 crore as two Jalandhar-based premier educational institutes of the Doaba region have offered to purchase land which has been in their possession for over four decades.

The Improvement Trust authorities had allotted 82 kanals on a 99-year lease basis to the Montgomery Guru Singh Sabha, Jalandhar, for fulfilling its “objective” of setting up a women college on lease money of Rs 600 per year in 1995, while 42 kanals of land in the heart of the city was allotted in 1963 to the Rajeshwari Kala Sangam Trust on lease basis for the “promotion” of art and music in the district.

Interestingly, the lease money for land allotted to the Rajeshwari Kala Sangam Trust, which was running the Apeejay College of Fine Arts and Apeejay School was just Rs 1 per month and the entire amount, was deposited by the trust authorities in one go at the time of allotment.

But what irked the Improvement Trust authorities which has slapped notices on the two institutions, was the alleged “gross violation” of the lease agreement by the two institutions.

While contrary to the terms of the lease agreement, the Montgomery Guru Singh Sabha changed its name to Montgomery Guru Nanak Educational Trust and set up MGN Public School and the MGN College of Education on the allotted land, the Rajeshwari Kala Sangam Trust set up a school and a college.

The Improvement authorities maintained that one of the two pieces of the land was originally allotted to the Rajeshwari Sangeet Academy in 1963, but how the academy changed its name and how its building plans were cleared by the local Municipal Corporation Authorities without seeking the requisite NOC from the Improvement Trust was not known. Trust sources revealed that though the market price was much more , the total amount likely to be realised by the trust from the two institutions was around Rs 20 crore if it allotted the land on freehold basis and as per the existing norms.

The Montgomery Guru Nanak Educational Trust and the Rajeshwari Kala Sangam Trust had also rented out their respective premises to two banks for setting up their extension counters. Interestingly, the Montgomery Guru Nanak Education Trust allegedly did not even bother to deposit the annual lease fee with the Improvement Trust authorities for the past 46 years. While no effort was made by the Improvement Trust authorities to realise the amount all these years, the Montgomery Guru Nanak Educational Trust authorities finally sent an amount of Rs 27,600 to the Improvement Trust as payment of the lease money on April 9, 2001.

Mr Tejinder Singh Bittu, Chairman of the Improvement Trust, confirmed that the two institutions had approached the trust for acquiring the land on freehold basis after notices were issued on the basis of findings of a two-member fact-finding committee headed by Mr Darshan Lekh and Mr Arun Sehgal, members of the Improvement Trust. He said a proposal in this regard would be sent to the Punjab Local Bodies Department for its approval.

When contacted Mr Yash Raj Aggrawal and Mr Jarnail Singh Pasricha, general secretaries of the Rajeshwari Kala Sangam Trust and the Montgomery Guru Nanak Educational Trust, respectively, maintained that their institutions had not violated any norm or agreement but in the same breath they maintained that they did not want any confrontation with the government. 


8 Pak boys hope for a stroke of luck like Munir
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 15
Like Munir, who has gone back to Pakistan on the intervention of the Prime Minister, there are eight Pakistani teenagers, including a Hindu boy, Dinesh Lal, a resident of Umar Kot (Sindh province), lodged in Faridkot’s Observation Home (Juvenile Jail), awaiting a similar gesture from Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Dinesh Lal’s desire to meet his relatives in India landed him in trouble. He had unwittingly crossed over to India from the Wagah border on June 26 without documents and was apprehended by a BSF patrol party. Talking to TNS at Faridkot’s Observation Home, Dinesh Lal said after having failed in the matriculation examination, he wanted to meet his aunt in Gujarat (India).

He is one of the 41 inmates, including eight Pakistani boys, at present lodged in the juvenile centre. He told TNS that he wanted to go back to his parents, three brothers and a sister. He said he was a student of FG Boys Senior Secondary School (number eight), Islamabad. He said he was feeling alienated in India despite the fact that it was a Hindu-dominated country.

Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission and the visiting Members of Parliament from the neighbouring country have made fervent appeals to the Indian Prime Minister to secure the release of Dinesh Lal, son of Mr Chaman Lal, and other boys lodged in Faridkot’s Observation Home as a gesture of goodwill. The visiting MPs said the case of Dinesh Lal should be treated in the same humane manner as that of Munir who had strayed into Indian territory in the Rajasthan area and was sent back on August 12. A Rajya Sabha member, Mr Kuldip Nayar, said the National Human Rights Commission of India was likely to take up the case of Dinesh Lal.

Addressing a press conference before returning to Pakistan, the 12-member Pakistani delegation, headed by Mr Aitazaz Hasan said India and Pakistan must keep the option of third-party mediation open to resolve ticklish issues. They said the forthcoming elections in India could queer the pitch for promoting Indo-Pak ties. The major political parties must refrain from Pakistan-bashing during the election campaign. The delegates said they would help in creating a conducive atmosphere for friendly ties with India after returning to Pakistan.

On the issue of visa relaxation, the delegates said it had to be done on a reciprocal basis as both countries must ease travel restrictions so that more and more people could interact with one another. Mr Parvez Malik, a member of the National Assembly belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League, favoured early resumption of trade between the two countries.

The names of other Pakistani boys lodged in the Observation Home at Faridkot are: Sabar Ali and Sagar Ali, both from Kasur, Asif (7), Babar Ali (11), Altaf Shah (16), all from Multan, Amzad Khan from Shekhupura and Nasar Ali from Jhang. 


Release Indian kids, NGO asks Pak PM

Moga, August 15
An Indian non-governmental organisation (NGO) yesterday appealed to the Pakistan Prime Minister to reciprocate the noble gesture of Indian Prime Minister in ordering release of 13-year-old Munir Ahmed by directing the release of three minor Indian Punjabi boys sheltered in a Lahore gurdwara for the last six months.

International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Society president Harpal Singh Bhullar, in his faxed message to Mr Zafarullah Khan Jamali, said it being Pakistan’s Independence day was an auspicious occasion to release Avtar Singh, Balour Singh and Joginder Singh who had taken shelter in Gurdwara Dera Sahib at Lahore. “Let these boys be released on the day Pakistan’s Independence Day so they could return home to enjoy freedom on India’s Independence tomorrow’’, Mr Bhullar said.

Munir Ahmed, who had strayed into India through Rajasthan border, was ordered to be released by Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday last and he crossed over home to Pakistan via Wagah joint check post on August 12. — UNI


Rights panel seeks report on custodial death
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) in a case of the alleged custodial death of a minor boy, Pardeep Singh (17), involving an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) at Tarn Taran, has directed the SSP, Amritsar, to submit a report to the commission within six weeks.

The PSHRC has also directed the SSP, Tarn Taran, to ensure that no harassment is caused to the complainant and the family members of the deceased.

Earlier, the commission had ordered that the issue be treated as a case.

According to Pardeep Singh’s relatives, about one and a half years ago, Pardeep Singh along with two of his friends was stopped at a Jamarai police naka under the Tarn Taran police district in the afternoon of December 22,2001, while on his way back from Gandiwind where he had gone to visit his widowed mother.

“The police asked the boys to empty their wallets. Being poor students, they had very little money with them. At this, ASI Harbhajan Singh sent two of the boys away and made Pardeep Singh stay back,” recounts his sister.

“The police beat him up and he collapsed. Thinking that the boy was only pretending, the ASI allegedly took him to his private quarters and kept hitting him. Pardeep Singh died there. Later the police claimed that the boy had committed suicide by hanging himself,” she said.

However the family members of Pardeep Singh, including his widowed mother, Ms Joginder Kaur, continue to live in fear as the ASI roams free.

Earlier an inquiry conducted by the DSP (Crime), Jalandhar, Mr Joginder Lal, has stated that the ASI concerned was under suspension from December 25, 2001, negating his presence on the night of the death of Pardeep Singh. It is alleged that the ASI, in a bid to cover up the killing, had made out a case under the NDPS Act against Pardeep Singh. The ADGP (Crime) had on March 14, 2002, written to the ASP, Tarn Taran, that an SP-rank officer be deputed for conducting another inquiry. Pardeep Singh’s relatives allege to be constantly under a threat as the ASI moves freely and pressurises them to reach a compromise.


Tricolour hoisted, saplings planted on I-Day
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 15
Fancy-dress competitions, sapling plantation and flag-hoisting ceremonies marked the Independence Day celebrations at various schools and other institutions in the township today.

Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology

Mr J.S. Bedi, the chairman of the institute, hoisted the Tricolour on the institute promises as the students sang patriotic songs. Addressing the students on this occasion, he exhorted them to develop a spirit of nationalism and strive for national causes.

DAV Public School

Students relived the spirit of the freedom struggle by dressing up as national leaders. Fancy-dress and flag-making competitions were also organised for the students. Mrs Jaya Bhardwaj, Principal, exhorted the students to maintain brotherhood and harmony in the country. Anumanat, Shruti, Tamana, Gagandeep, Iranjeet and Preeti won prizes on the occasion.

Kids Village Preparatory School

Tiny tots of Kids Village Preparatory School celebrated Independence Day by preparing the national flag. The teachers told the students about the importance of the day, giving a brief biography of the national leaders.

Jan Shikshan Sansthan

More than 250 students of the “sansthan,” besides the faculty members, participated in the Independence Day celebrations. The national flag was hoisted on the occasion. Mr Dildar Khan, director in charge, announced 16 scholarships for the deserving students. A declamation contest on the meaning and relevance of Independence Day was also organised.

Ambedkar Institute of Careers and Courses

A sapling-plantation campaign was organised on the premises of the institute. Students planted over 70 saplings of different trees on the campus.

Shivalik Public School

Celebrations here commenced with a march past by immaculately dressed senior students. Director-Principal D.S. Bedi unfurled the national flag and took salute amidst singing of the national anthem. The school was decorated with colourful buntings.

A variety programme comprising patriotic poems, songs, speeches and dances was organised by the students. A prize-distribution ceremony marked the end of the celebrations.

Dera Bassi

Independence Day was celebrated with much fanfare by the local administration and residents of this subdivision here on Friday.

Students of different government and private schools, a Punjab police contingent, home guards, scouts and guides, NCC and NSS volunteers from local schools participated in a march past. The function was held on the premises of Government High School, Dera Bassi.

Three physically challenged persons were given tricycles, while three freedom fighters were honoured on the occasion. Family members of 25 martyrs, who laid down their lives for the country, were also honoured.

Earlier, Mr M.S. Sidhu, SDM, unfurled the flag and took salute. Apart from a large number of residents of the area, Mr Balwinder Singh Brar, DSP, Mr Amrit Pal Singh, President of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, Dr Ram Kumar, SMO, Dera Bassi, were also present on the occasion.


A subdivision-level Independence Day function was organised at Christian High School here on Friday. Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, SDM, Kharar, unfurled the national flag and took salute. A colourful cultural programme was presented by schoolchildren on the occasion.

Mr Charanjit Singh, president of the Municipal Council, Kharar, unfurled the national flag at a function organised in the office of the council.

The Lions Club, Kharar, organised a diabetes detection camp as part of Independence Day celebrations. Dr Balwinder Singh, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Kharar, said diabetes was spreading like an epidemic and out of every 10 persons, six were patients of diabetes.

Fatehgarh Sahib

Independence Day was celebrated at the Mata Gujri College ground here with enthusiasm. Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats, unfurled the national flag and took salute from the contingents of the Punjab Police and Home Guards.

NCC cadets did not participate in the parade this year. The district administration had received a letter from the Director, NCC, that due to lack of funds for uniforms and refreshments of cadets, they would not be able to participate in the function. It created resentment among NCC cadets, who wanted to participate in the Independence Day celebrations.

Ms Bhattal highlighted the sacrifices made by our forefathers for the freedom of the country. She called upon youths to come forward and pledge to protect the hard-earned freedom. She counted the achievements of the government in various fields and urged people to maintain communal harmony and peace for ensuring the development of the state and the country.

She honoured 17 prominent persons for making extraordinary contribution in their respective fields. Those honoured included Mr Ashok Gupta, AETC, Mr R.N. Sharma, president of the Citizen’s Welfare Council, Sirhind, Seth Kanhaya Lal, Mr Charnjit Singh, Inspector, Food and Civil Supplies, and Mr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal of the MG College.

Ms Bhattal also distributed sewing machines and tricycles to widows and physically challenged persons. Various government departments had displayed tableaux highlighting their achievements. Schoolchildren presented an impressive cultural programme on the occasion. Ms Bhattal announced an award of Rs 5,100 for the students of Daya Nand Model School, Sirhind, for presenting a choreography on Saheed Udham Singh’s life.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, Mr M.P. Arora, ADC, Vaid Hari Krishan, president of the DCC, Mr Amarjit Singh Cheema, president of the District Bar Association, and members of judiciary also attended the function.

Independence Day was also celebrated at Amloh, Bassi Pathana and Khamano, where respective SDMs unfurled the national flag.


The Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, said the government had released Rs 90 crore for paying pension to the aged, widows and the disabled.

He was addressing a public rally to mark the 57th Independence Day at Yadavindra Public School Stadium here on Friday. He said special schemes had been formulated to provide education to Dalit youths. Besides waiving off their fee, they would also be given course books, he said.

He further added that more powers would be given to panchayats from October 2. The panchayats would be given the responsibility of looking after primary education, animal husbandry, rural health and social welfare schemes.


A cultural programme presented by students of various schools marked the Independence Day celebrations in Rajpura, here on Friday. Besides patriotic songs, the students also also presented bhangra and giddha on the occasion.

Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, State Minister for Public Health, Rural Development and Panchayats, hoisted the Tricolour and took salute. He said the government was spending Rs 1,500 crore on various development projects. He said under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Health Scheme, the government would be spending Rs 500 crore for setting up public lavatories.

Those present on the occasion included Ms Amrit Kaur Gill, SDM, Mr Pritpal Singh Thind, DSP, and residents of nearby villages.


The government has decided to establish Punjab Medical Institute, which would promote medical research in the state. The institute would be brought up at a cost of Rs 157 crore at Jalandhar.

The Minister for Medical Education and Research, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, made this announcement here on Friday. He was here to preside over a district-level Independence Day function and to unfurl the national flag on the occasion.

He said the institute would be the first of its kind in the country. With the coming up of the institute, the number of medical seats in the state would also increase. The work for the construction of the institute was progressing at a rapid pace, he added.

He said the shortage of staff and equipment in the medical colleges of the state would be met very soon. The government was also planning to establish an information technology park at SAS Nagar. The project would cost Rs 500 crore, he said.

Earlier, the minister took salute from an impressive march past by a police contingent, home guards and and NCC volunteers. Students from various parts of the district presented a cultural programme on the occasion.

Eleven sewing machines and five tricycles were distributed among the needy by the district wing of the Red Cross. The minister announced an award of Rs 50,000 for the schoolchildren who presented the cultural show.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, distributed sweets in the leper’s colony and gave her best wishes to the inhabitants on Independence Day.


Bir Devinder awards students, teachers
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 15‘‘The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, deserves to be congratulated for his relentless battle against corruption in the state,’’ said Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, and Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, while delivering the Independence Day speech here today.

He was the chief guest at the Independence Day celebrations organised at Government Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B1, here.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh lauded the achievements of school students and teachers, who were given awards.

Over 800 students from various schools in the township participated in the colorful celebrations which included, other than the award distribution ceremony, a lively cultural function.

Among the students awarded today were Rupinder Oberoi for scoring 92.6 per cent marks in class X, Amandeep Sandhu for scoring 91 per cent marks in class X, Amarjit Bhamra for scoring 90 per cent marks in class X, Tejinder Singh Virk, Rajvinder Kaur, Brahmleen Kaur, Roseveen, Bhavanpreet Singh, Abhinav Goyal and Kabir Dikhsit.

Mr Amrik Singh Bhatti and Mr Albel Singh Shyaan, prominent citizens, were awarded for their cooperation to the administration.

Dr Sahib Singh, writer of the play “Khamba Di Tallash”, was awarded on the occasion. Ms Ramandeep Kaur, Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Sher Singh, Mrs Sarabjit Kaur, Mrs Avtar Kaur, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Barinder Singh, Mr Jasmer Singh, Mr Harinder Pal Singh Billa, Dr Subhash Katana, Mr Satnam, Mrs Sarabjit Kaur and Mr Gurcharan Singh were among the others who were given mementos.


Mentally challenged kids pay homage
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Rajiv Pratap Rudy today accompanied a group of freedom fighters and physically challenged children in a special chartered flight to pay homage to the Jallianwala Bagh martyrs to commemorate Independence Day. The minister and the entire group laid wreaths at the memorial.

Bollywood actors, Jeetendra and Amrish Puri and director Satish Kaushik were accompanying the group. They said it was a proud moment for them.

Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP, welcomed the group and stated that the Jallianwala Bagh was symbolic of the freedom struggle and said the coming together of the freedom fighters along with mentally-challenged children have given them the opportunity to remember those who had laid down lives. Later, the group paid obeisance at the Golden Temple.


Massacre witness unfurls flag
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
Bapu Shingara Singh (106) a freedom fighter and eyewitness to the Jallianwala massacre of 1919, today hoisted the national flag on the occasion of Independence Day at Jallianwala Bagh. The function was organised by DAV Public School here.

Bapu Shingara Singh recalled the time when he witnessed the holocaust of the massacre by General Dyer on the Baisakhi day. Bapu Shingara Singh who was injured then showed his bullet wound. President APJ Abdul Kalam on his visit here on March 22 had directed that a historian may be attached with Bapu Shingara Singh to note down his observations of the Jallianwala massacre. 


Sentenced for a year, out in a day
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
The joy of two brothers, Jugraj Singh and Darshan, knew no bounds when they were set free from the Central Jail, here today, after the state government gave a remission of one year to all convicts.

Interestingly, the brothers were sentenced to one-year imprisonment by a Mansa-based court and had come to the jail yesterday.

They were set free in a day as there sentence was over due to the remission given on the occasion of Independence Day.

When contacted, Mr Sukhdev Singh Saggu, Superintendent, Central Jail, said 49 convicts, including three women, were released.

Many inmates, while talking to TNS, said Independence Day had really got them independence.

They said they would make efforts to reach home by evening so that they could celebrate the day with their family.

Many of them distributed ‘ladoos’ to those who were still in the jail.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government has asked the authorities of all jails in Punjab to send information regarding those convicts, who were 20 years old and below and had spent eight years in jail after being sentenced for life imprisonment.

The government has also sought information regarding women convicts, who have spent five and a half years in jail after being sentenced for 20 years imprisonment, and those who are 70 years and above and have spent five years in jail.

Mr Saggu said a cultural programme and a sports mela was organised in the jail to celebrate Independence Day.


BSF men gift sweets to Pak Rangers

Wagah (Amritsar), August 15
As a gesture of reciprocation, Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at the Wagah Joint Check Post (JCP) today gifted sweets to their Pakistani Counterparts.

Senior BSF officials at JCP handed over the sweets to the Commander of the Pakistani Rangers who had given sweets on the occasion of Pakistan’s Independence Day yestereday.

The exchange of gifts between the forces of the two neighbours is a long tradition to mark their respective anniversaries of independence.

The International JCP Wagah, on this occasion was decorated. — PTI

Bacchus lovers have field day
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 15
Bacchus lovers from Chandigarh thronged liquor vends in Zirakpur and other places in the periphery today as liquor vends in Chandigarh were closed on account of Independence Day.

Despite a ban on the sale of liquor, a large number of vends in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru and other parts on the periphery flouted the order. While some vends in Chandigarh and villages falling in its jurisdiction sold liquor through small holes and semi-closed shutters, liquor was available in certain “ahatas” adjoining liquor vends in Chandigarh.

A visit to Zirakpur revealed that a liquor vend located on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at Bhabhat village and another vend on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway in Zirakpur were selling liquor since morning. Liquor was also being sold in villages falling in Chandigarh with “downed shutters” late this evening.

Mr Ingerjit Singh, a customer at a vend, said he was celebrating “Independence” with his drink. “The government should not impose a ban on selling liquor on such days. Liquor should be sold even at general stores in India like other countries,” he said.

Mr M.S. Sidhu, SDM, Dera Bassi, said, “Sale of liquor on Independence Day had not been banned”.


Similar chlorination plants but at different cost
Lalit Mohan

Nangal (Ropar), August 15
What could be the difference in the cost of similar plants procured by two organisations. Well, if the data collected from the Nangal Municipal Council and the BBMB are compared the difference raises eyebrows. The local municipal council (MC) has recently got installed a water chlorination plant at a cost of about Rs 10 lakh. However, a similar plant was being installed by the BBMB at a cost of just Rs 2 lakh.

The plant comprises chlorine cylinders, a gauge to control the outflow of chlorine into water and a few valves. The only difference between the two plants is that while the BBMB was using small chlorine cylinders with a capacity for storing 90 kg chlorine the MC plant was using toner cylinder with a capacity of 900 kg.

However, investigation carried by the correspondent revealed taht the cost of the chlorine cylinder does not make much difference to the cost of plant. Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals Ltd. (PACL), which is the main supplier of chlorine in the region, stated that the cost of a toner cylinder of chlorine was just Rs 30,000. They added that generally the buyer of chlorine need not buy the cylinder as they could get the refill whenever needed.

They did not recommend the use of toner cylinder for the water treatment plant.

Another interesting fact about the plant at Nangal is that while chlorination is generally done for drinking water it chlorinates the sewage after its treatment. The council officials claim that the plant has been installed on the direction of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB). The PPCB had directed the council to chlorinate the sewage after treatment before releasing it into a river.

However, the PPCB authorities stated that though chlorinating of sewage water was an effective method to control microbes no direction in this regard has been issued to the councils. 


Provident Fund scam: 4 thermal plant officers join probe
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 15
Four officers of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), here, including Mr H.S. Heera, Harnek Singh, D.S. Mann and Balbir Singh accused in the EPF scam joined police investigation today.

They had earlier secured interim stay of arrest till August 14 from a court. Their bail was extended till August 16 yesterday as the police failed to produce the record in the court.

The other 17 officers accused in the scam are trying to secure anticipatory bail to evade arrest.

The police though demanded custodial interrogation of these officers in the case. They failed to take serious step to secure their arrest. Raids have not even been made at the residences of the officers or any of their hideouts to secure their arrest.

The investigating officer of the case Mr Manvir Singh said the police tomorrow would seek cancellation of the interim bail granted to accused officer. When asked about the efforts being made to arrest officers he said raids were being conducted.

However, sources said that the police was allowing time to the accused officers to secure anticipatory bails.


Ramoowalia focuses on deserted brides
Tribune News Service

Issru (Ludhiana), August 15
Member of Parliament and President Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Simranjit Singh Mann today denounced the Indian National Flag arguing that it did not represent the Sikh community. He was speaking at a political conference on the martyrdom day of Shaheed Karnail Singh here today. He demanded that Navy Blue colour, which denoted the Khalsa should be incorporated in the National flag.

He said the Tri-colour actually was the flag of the Congress party with a minor change. He said it should not be accepted as the national flag. His party members distributed the contents of his speech dated April 8, 2003 in Parliament where he had attacked the national flag on similar grounds.

He said he was the only Sikh leader fighting for the Sikh cause. He said there was lot of discrimination against the Sikhs. He said the national flag gives representations to all communities barring Sikhs.

The Lok Bhalai Party of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia took up the cause of Punjab farmers and Punjabis settled abroad .

‘‘The Lok Bhalai Party is committed to take up the cause of the farmers and provide a better deal for the Punjabi youth stranded abroad besides ensuring that girls who marry abroad are not harassed on any account,’’ says party chief and MP B. S. Ramoowalia, who was addressing an political conference at Issru village on the martyrdom day of Shaheed Master Karnail Singh Issru here this noon.

He expressed deep gratitude to the people of Punjab for their support to the programme and policies of the party. He also thanked the people for voting for the representatives of the party during gram panchayat elections.

Mr Ramoowalia said that his party would build people’s movement aimed at uprooting the politics of ‘plunder and loot’ from the soil of Punjab. Gathering comprised many women, who were absent from the pandals of other parties.

He expressed his concern at rising costs and at the steep fall in industrial economy, particularly the small scale industry, and at the short-sighted government policies which are blocking inflow of foreign investment. Stating that the education was vital to the better future of the state and the country, Mr Ramoowalia said that it was the high-handedness of the Punjab Government in imposing steep hike in colleges and universities which it had to roll back under pressure from all quarters including that of the Lok Bhalai Party.

He added that his party was committed to continue its fight to bring justice to the victimised young married girls cheated and deserted by their NRI husbands and resolved to bring awareness amongst the masses through meetings and counselling. The Party would also continue to expose travel and manpower agents, he said amid slogans from the audience.

Mr Ramoowalia said that the LBP would continue to address and redress the grievances of un-employed youths, Punjabi NRIs, self-employed people in truck-taxi and other transport professions; kisans, dalits, under-privileged and backward classes, traders, businessmen, shop-keepers, milkmen, ex-servicemen and all voiceless people.

The LBP was emerging as the third political alternative in Punjab, Mr Ramoowalia claimed. He added that he would launch a agitation against the freezing of Minimum Support Price of agricultural commodities. 


SGPC reverts 24 illegally promoted employees
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
The SGPC today reverted the 24 employees who had been "illegally promoted" during the tenures of Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar both former SGPC presidents.

The move has been effected following orders from the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission. A petition was filed against the decision of the SGPC which had promoted these employees upto the rank of supervisor. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary chief secretary, SGPC, said the SGPC was only following the orders of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission which had held the promotions illegal.


State-level seminar on lung diseases
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 15
The Association of Chest Physicians of Punjab (ACPP) will organise a state-level seminar on recent advances in the field of chronic obstructive pulmonary (lung) diseases as “COPD Update-2003” on August 24 at Government Medical College, Patiala.

The press secretary of the ACPP, Dr Surinder Singla, said eminent doctors of the country would update the knowledge of participating doctors on the latest diagnostic and treatment procedures for the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which mimics asthma. He said COPD was a very common disease, especially in the smokers, and included a combination of diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysama, and chronic obstructive lung diseases etc.

Dr R.S. Bedi, state president of the ACPP, and Dr D. Bahera from the PGI, Chandigarh, would deliver lecture on “Problem and causes of COPD”. Dr Randip Guleria from AIIMS, New Delhi, would speak on “management of COPD”. Dr Jagdip Whig from DMC, Ludhiana; Dr Ashok Janmeja, Professor and Head, Chest Department, Government Medical College, Chandigarh; and Dr K.B. Gupta, Medical College, Rohtak, would also deliver lectures.

Dr Singla said another seminar on “management of bronchial asthma” would be organised by the ACPP at Sangrur in the last week of September.


Recovery ordered in tree-felling cases
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 15
A sum of Rs 50 lakh has been ordered to be recovered from officials of the District Forest Department here in connection with 160 cases of illegal tree felling. This was stated by Mr P. Ram, Financial Commissioner, Forest and Wildlife, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday.

He further said the Government of India had selected 89 villages of Mansa district and placed them under the Forest Development Agency for plantation on about 2,100 acres.

He requested the NGOs colleges, schools, other institutions and the public to help the state in this regard.


Army recruitment rally
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 15
The Army will be organising a recruitment rally for aspiring candidates of Patiala, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Kapurthala and for candidates belonging to Sikh Mazbi and Ramdasia caste of all districts of Punjab at Punjab Public School, Nabha, from August 22 to August 31. The candidates should have cleared their matriculation examination with atleast 45 per cent marks.


Engineer acquitted of corruption charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
The Punjab and Haryana High Court in a significant judgement has ruled that an offence under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act was not proved beyond reasonable doubt if an independent witness regarding the demand of money was lacking.

Acquitting a Malerkotla resident accused of being involved in a corruption case, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the High Court ruled: "It is proved from the statement of the prosecution witnesses that currency notes, smeared with phenol pathaleine powder, were recovered from the accused. These were the same notes that were handed over to the complainant after marking their numbers. However, there is no satisfactory evidence that the accused had demanded money."

The accused, an engineer with the Punjab State Electricity Board, was earlier booked by the Vigilance Department on the allegation of demanding money for releasing a power connection.

The judge further ruled: "The complainant has stated that he had handed over the currency notes to the accused on demand, but a prosecution witness has contradicted him. He has stated that the accused had not demanded money at that time from the complainant. When the accused stopped the scooter, the complainant handed over the money to him. He was declared hostile, but in the cross-examination, the prosecution could not get anything favourable out of him. He has also not stated as to what transpired between the accused and the complainant when he handed over the currency notes to the accused...."

In his detailed order, the judge held: "It is also not proved from the statements of the prosecution witnesses that on the previous day they had told the inspector concerned about the demand of money by the accused. Thus, the essential ingredient of the offence that money was passed on to the accused on demand is missing. Therefore, it cannot be said that the accused had put forward a demand for money as bribe for releasing the connection."

Taking note of some other contradictions also, the judge concluded: "Otherwise also the connection was not to be released by the accused. The same was to be released by a Subdivisional Officer. So, it is not proved on file as to what transpired between the complainant and the accused when the amount was handed over. There is no satisfactory evidence that the complainant had handed over the amount to the accused on demand. Independent witness is lacking with respect to the demand made by the engineer. Thus, the offence under Section 5 (1) (d) read with Section 5 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and under Section 161 of the Indian Penal Code, is not proved against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.... He is given the benefit of doubt and is acquitted of the charges levelled against him."


2 remanded in judicial custody
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 15
Darshan Singh, gunman of the local District Transport Officer, Mr Mohan Lal, and Rajinder Singh, the latter’s driver, were arrested on Wednesday by officials of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, for pocketing fine money. They were produced today in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate here, Mr Harsh Mehta, who sent them to Judicial Jail, Bathinda, till August 28, 2003.


Former sarpanch booked in assault case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
The Sangat police of the district has registered a case against Mr Thana Singh, former sarpanch of Mohallan village and a close associate of senior Congress leaders of this region, for his alleged involvement in the beating up of a panchayat secretary, Mr Balkar Singh, a few days ago.

Police sources said the case against Mr Thana Singh was registered under Sections 332, 353 and 186 of the IPC when he was found guilty following an inquiry into the matter by a senior district civil official. The official conducted the inquiry when the panchayat secretary, Mr Balkar Singh, along with his colleagues met senior police and civil officials a few days ago and made a complaint against Mr Thana Singh.

The sources added that Mr Balkar Singh was posted as panchayat secretary at Bandi village where the wife of Mr Thana Singh was the sarpanch. Mr Thana Singh beat up Mr Balkar Singh when he refused to give the record pertaining to various works done by the earlier panchayat to him.


Farmer found dead
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
Gurjeet Singh, a farmer of Bagha village under the Raman Mandi police station in the district, was found murdered in his field yesterday by members of his family.

Police sources said Gurjeet Singh, who was sleeping in his fields to protect his vegetable crop from stray animals and thieves, was found lying dead on the cot when members of his family reached there searching for him as he did not return to his house in the morning.

There were big and deep wounds on the neck of the deceased. A case in this connection had been registered. The body has been handed over to his family after a post- mortem examination.


Punjab to have 3 information technology parks
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 15
After five years of declaring Punjab as the next information technology (IT) destination of the country, now three information technology parks have been planned in the state with the first beginning its operations in SAS Nagar by the end of this month.

While 50 acres of land has been given by the Punjab Information and Communication Technology Corporation (Punjab Infotech) to Quark to set up an IT park in SAS Nagar, another 15 acres have been offered to Larsen and Toubro Ltd. in the township for the same purpose. At Patiala, 20 acres have been demarcated for an IT park by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) within the integrated township being developed as a counter-magnet to the National Capital Region. Over Rs 1000 crore is expected to be invested by various agencies in these three parks.

Stating that the focus is on generation of high-paying jobs for Punjabis, Mr N.S. Kalsi, Managing Director, Punjab Infotech, pointed out that the IT parks would give a boost to back processing outsourcing units and call centres. ‘‘Other than Mohali, where the deals are finalised, Patiala is being considered since the Government of India has sanctioned the setting up of a unit of the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) there. This will be a unit similar to the one in Mohali, responsible for providing the requisite clearances to the software export units which establish themselves here and the connectivity,’’ he said.

The STPI, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Information Technology in SAS Nagar, has a capacity of providing connectivity at the rate of 50 mega bytes per second. ‘‘But currently the demand is as low a 7 mbps, including what we provide to Chandigarh also. In fact, we are underutilised. We are in a position to provide adequate connectivity to all the three IT parks that come up in Punjab and the one in Chandigarh and the one proposed in Haryana,’’ informed Dr Sanjay Tyagi, Additional Director and Centre Head, STPI, here.

However, the state faces a stiff competition from both Chandigarh and Haryana. In Chandigarh 111 acres of land has already been developed into an IT park and their biggest player has been Infosys, which has decided to shift its operations from SAS Nagar to its own 20 acres of space in Chandigarh Software Technology Park.

Mr S. Hariharan, Joint General Manager, Larsen and Toubro, informed that the company would invest in Chandigarh than Punjab simply because there is political consistency in a union territory. ‘‘We have also bid for 13 acres in the Chandigarh IT park,’’he said.

Sources also informed that 300 acres of land near Mansa Devi, Panchkula, is being demarcated by the Haryana Government for establishing an IT park and although the project is still in the conceptual stage, Haryana with a success story to show in Gurgaon will have it easy attracting good companies.


Dean accused of dereliction of duty
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
Tiff between two professors of the Political Science Department of Guru Nanak Dev University took a new turn with Prof Gurnam Singh, director Research and Coordinator School of Social Science counteralleging that Prof S.S. Bindra, Dean Social Sciences of dereliction of duty and vilification campaign prejudicial to interests of the department.

Earlier Prof S.S. Bindra had alleged threat to his life from Prof Gurnam Singh and had submitted a complaint to Vice-Chancellor Dr S.P. Singh and the SSP.

In a written statement yesterday Prof Gurnam claimed he had told Prof Bindra that he would report his unauthorised absence and his behaviour to higher authorities.

He allegedly concocted a story alleging threat to his life from him. He said the alleged “threat to life” was a figment of Prof Bindra’s mind. Prof Gurnam denied any association with the lecturer in question who was allegedly being favoured by him according to Prof Bindra. Prof Gurnam attached a copy of the proof dated August 11 in which he stated to Dean Academic Affairs in a written statement that Prof Bindra did not attend to classes on August 7 and August 8 without being on leave. Prof Gurnam had urged the Dean to hold an urgent meeting of the Board of Control of the Department to discuss the issue of the latter’s absences.


Plan to privatise ITIs put off
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, August 15
The Technical Education and Industrial Training Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kay Pee, said here today that the state government had postponed the move to privatise 12 ITIs in the state for the time being as the delegation of employees had assured that they could give better results. The government had asked the delegation to submit its proposals which would be reviewed with an open mind.

The minister said the government had modified the Badal government’s plan to lease-out the ITIs and polytechnics on revenue share basis. The private entrepreneurs were to pay revenue to the government on seat basis. Besides, the government had rationalised the trades and trainings in the various ITIs and polytechnics. Some outdated trades had been dropped and new trades as per the needs of modern industry had been started. As many as 4 polytechnics, which included Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Mohali and Batala, had been upgraded, said the minister adding that a loan of about Rs 108 crore from the World Bank was expected to revamp technical education in the state.


Schools, colleges closed today in Ropar
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 15
The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, today announced a holiday in all schools and colleges of the district for August 16 in view of the participation of students in the Independence Day celebrations today.

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